I have tried to provide many of the tips I picked up along the way on what Jiu Jitsu Moves to focus on. When I started competing I didn’t know what to do. I would spend one week worrying about takedowns and the next week I would worry about the latest fancy submission for my top game. I went online, looked around and tried to find the best BJJ programs and Grappling moves to focus on. While some worked, a lot didn’t and I always felt like I was wasting a ton of time (and money). While I was searching I came across a blog similar to the one I have tried to create here. The guy described being a blue belt of a couple years and starting to compete for the first time. He talked about getting owned standing and what he tried to do to compete with all the wrestlers and judo players in competitions. I immediately though, “wow this is me”. He then went on to talk about how he checked out this website and it taught him to focus on the guard, both passing and submitting others from it.

Click here to check out the Guard Website

I was skeptical but figured what the heck. The concept made sense, plus he gave a $5 trial. I bought the DVDs and the system was awesome, but they weren’t the best part. One of his free gifts was a BJJ drilling workbook that I thought was a throw away. It ended up being the best part of the system! Anyways I’ve worked and drilled the system, it’s by a BJJ brown belt named Jordan Schultz, who won worlds twice. It’s really helped my game out a ton, if you’re interested in it you can check it out here:

Click here to check out the Guard Passing/Drilling System

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We’ve all been there, in practice you learn new jiu jitsu moves that you want to try out right away sparring. But it never seems to work the day you learned it. Well don’t give up on the move just so quickly.

While it may seem pretty obvious, the main reason that a new move doesn’t work is because everyone you are trying it on also just learned it and are waiting for it. It sounds silly but a lot of beginners get discouraged because their new techniques don’t work. Here are two suggestions to make the techniques extremely effective.

First when learning the technique try to think of ways you would counter the move. Ask your bjj instructor how he would counter it. These are the ways that your class mates are going to counter. All you need to do is think of an attack off of the counter. If you can’t think of one, again ask you instructor.

A great example from my training was sweeps class. In class we would learn a new sweep and then practice sparring using only sweeps. Opponents soon began to do things to avoid sweeps that set themselves up for other attacks. Our instructor pointed out that anyone resting their forearm on your throat could easily be set up into an arm triangle, or have their arm pulled across and their back taken. Since submissions weren’t allowed in this drill, I developed the back take (this is one of the easier jiu jitsu moves, one which I still use today with a lot of success). Once an opponent got his back taken once or twice, he then avoided putting his arm on your throat, leaving himself open for the original attack the sweep.

Another way to work in new techniques is to wait and try it the next day. Since most in your school are looking for it today, there are less likely to be “on guard” tomorrow. Take good notes and review them the next day before class. This will give you the benefits of using your notes, more time to think about the jiu jitsu moves and any questions, and of catching most of your class mates as off guard as your opponents in a bjj tournament would be.

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Takedowns are important for jiu jitsu tournament success. Obviously since matches start standing up, but let’s face it: if you wanted to drill takedowns you’d be reading Judo Moves not Jiu Jitsu moves. So I’ll give you a tip that I learned early that allowed me to enjoy competitive success while still focusing on the ground game.

First though, you might as well face this up front, at higher levels you are going to have to drill takedowns and wrestling as you will most certainly encounter high level guys at submission grappling competitions. Also this tip won’t work against any of those established stand up guys.

At one of my first jiu jitsu competitions a teammate at my school offered me this bit of advice. She told me that as a white belt she just drilled grip fighting for her stand up game. That was it, and never worked wrestling or throws at all. Just grip fighting.

She explained to me that because most BJJ players are uncomfortable on their feet they often lose confidence early and pull guard. Her plan going into white belt matches was to gain superior grips and get them to pull guard. From there she worked guard passing and submissions.

If you’re wondering if it worked for her, it did, all the time. She would just grip fight. She used this tip to win BJJ Pan Am’s as a white belt and took third at worlds using the exact same plan (by worlds she was a blue belt). In fact if you go to the videos section I have several videos posted of me doing the exact same thing.

So spend time drilling grip fighting and the rest of your practice time on what you love, drilling jiu jitsu moves, after all if you encounter a wrestler or a judo player at an early level they ARE going to get the takedown, you will want to have to skills to take the match over from there.

Now the trick is learning grip fighting. Most jiu jitsu schools don’t work grips or stand up at all. I know, I used to be at one. During that time I enrolled in an online bjj takedown course that helped me out quite a bit. It taught a pretty good grip fighting system, along with other takedowns for jiu jitsu competitions.

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I learned a valuable tip at this weekend’s BJJ tournament so I thought I’d share. If a BJJ black belt, like say Mike Fowler, is kind enough to coach you as a white belt listen to him! While this may sound like common sense it is always that easy.

First the story: I was competing in a No Gi tournament and as is custom at our jiu jitsu school I got a coach for my matches. Not just any coach though, I got 3 time Pan Am champ, bjj black belt in 4 years, Mike Fowler to coach me. He asked me my game plan and I told him a few jiu jitsu moves I was working on but I was more in awe than anything (mistake #1).

My first match was against a guy who was clearly a wrestler. Perfect for me I thought because it gave me a chance to work on my wrestling takedowns and takedown defense. Unfortunately I had told Master Mike that I was going to look for a takedown and if not I would pull guard. Which I did. And then my opponent stood up and I stood up with him. We repeated this several times (mistake #2).

What’s wrong with this approach? First, I gave him enough opportunities to succeed and he did, scoring a takedown. And it was exact opposite of what my coach was advising me. Master Mike kept telling me to stay down and make him pass my open guard, advice I ignored. Not only was it disrespectful, but it cost me 2 points.

Two great learning points I got out of this: First if you have a coach make sure they understand where your game is at and what you plan on doing. I was so in awe I didn’t tell Master Mike any of my game plan, just a couple of jiu jitsu moves that I had been working on.

Second remember that your coach has a better idea of what’s going on in the grappling match than you do, so listen to him! If you are clearly beat in an area they will know and advise you what jiu jitsu moves to do, so listen!

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Most Jiu Jitsu players are faced with a predicament. They want to succeed early in their career and their coaches want them to focus on jiu jitsu moves that build a strong foundation. The problem is most beginners view these goals as contradictory. To the coaches fundamentals are often position and defense, while the students define success as using the latest fancy triangle choke they’ve seen on the latest BJJ DVDs.

Both are important. Without the fundamentals anyone with experience will cut through you like a grappling dummy. Without early success the student probably won’t stick around long enough to enjoy those fundamentals their coaches urged them to build.

So how can a submission grappler have the best of both worlds? By training in the area of takedowns. Standup is an important aspect of Jiu Jitsu that if one focuses on they can build fundamentals while enjoying early competitive success. They are extremely important to drill and understand.

This is for several reasons. First all matches, gi and no gi, start standing up. It is possible to focus entirely on the basics like posture, grip fighting, and ties and still win early in your bjj career. Learning takedowns will translate to all aspect of your game, are useful in every grappling tournament, and you will never get to a level where the skills are not useful.

Second most Jiu Jitsu schools don’t focus on stand up at all. All grappling in class begins on the knees with no exception. This puts the student who trains takedowns at a huge advantage. With little training, a student who practices takedowns can begin almost any match up 2-0 and with dominant position. Needless to say this puts you in at an awesome advantage, early in your bjj career.

Practicing standup jiu jitsu moves are important to early and continued jiu jitsu success. Whether you train Judo or wrestling will depend on whether you are a pure jiu jitsu player or a no gi or mma fighter, but neither is a bad idea. The throws you learn in Judo translate to MMA and the takedowns from wrestling can be used in jiu jitsu. Either way practicing takedowns and takedown defense will ensure early competitive success while still building a fundamental skill your coach will be proud of.

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I can’t tell you how long it took me to learn to take notes in class. It seems like every class I would learn a move and the next class I had forgotten some of the details. I would go to do the move and not even realize that my hand was in the wrong place or my hips weren’t where they were supposed to be. I did this for over a year.

It wasn’t until I went to a seminar and I saw a black belt taking notes that I got the idea. If he’s doing it, that means I probably should. I began taking notes and when my dojo would announce what moves they were working on for that day, I would just go back to those pages! This way you don’t have to learn everything again and you can take more detailed notes. You are learning new parts every time jiu jitsu moves are covered in class. Plus I find just writing it down helps me remember the technique more than if I was just watching.

Now I’ll admit I felt a little weird about bringing a note book out during Brazilian jiu jitsu instruction, but soon my instructor started hinting to everyone that it would be a good idea. After all you don’t go to high school or college classes and sit through the class and remember everything do you? Well if you do you don’t need this forum, but if you’re like most of us you remember more if you take notes. Give it a shot, once I started it got me over my biggest hurdle to succeeding in bjj competition, remembering what I had learned.

There is something else great about taking notes. You know all of those awesome dvds and videos showing jiu jitsu moves that your instructors hate (all of you “Youtube Ninjas”)? You can actually watch them and compare them to your notes. This will let help you remember specifics of each move and allow you to compare instruction. You can then wow your BJJ instructor when you ask him why other schools teach different versions.

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When I first started sparring I would go into class just looking to “wing it”, that is do whatever bjj moves came to me. But I never seemed able to react quick enough to my opponents, and I wasn’t able to remember key parts of the moves I was using.

One day I was talking to a purple belt about my frustration. He explained that I was going about it all wrong. Sparring is practice, not a mini grappling tournament. I should be using my notes every day and picking one or two moves to focus on. This way they would be fresh in my head and I would be looking for when to use them.

I began to pick a couple of moves every week to focus on. I would read my notes (not jiu jitsu videos) and refresh the key details that make them work. I would pick either the top game or the guard to focus on and then what jiu jitsu moves to go with from there. Either it was a guard pass, one submission (armbar, etc), and a transition (like knee on belly), or a sweep, a submission, and a set-up.

I saw results immediately. As I was sparring I began to notice when moves work and when they don’t, and began to recognize the set ups for these positions. Any bjj black belt they would never try a scissor sweep on an opponent sitting back on his heels, this wasn’t as obvious to me until I tried nothing but the scissor sweep for a week. Instead a forcing it with muscle or giving up on it, I began to recognize when to use the technique and how to get my opponent to move into the set up position.

At my next bjj tournament, it really paid off. Instead of letting it fly, I went out with an idea of what I was going to do. While I wasn’t Royce Gracie or anything, I was able to recognize what moves to use in and felt like I flowed the entire time. I was rewarded by winning my first tournament, with a triangle choke set up from an opponent attempting to pass my guard. You guessed it, I worked guard that week!

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Welcome to my new blog, Jiu Jitsu Moves. I train with some of the best jiu jitsu players in the United States and they give me great advice everyday. My idea was to create a forum where I could pass on that advice. I train with people like Mike Fowler, J.T. Torres, MMA great Mike Easton, his sister Nijah Easton, Willie Leonard, DJ “The Kimura Kid” Jackson, and of course master Lloyd Irvin. Well to say I train with them makes them sound like they are peers, more like they train me but I learn something new every day. It’s my goal to get 1% everyday and then pass that information on to you. Please take a look at the site and let me know what you’d like to see more of or any questions you’d like me to try and get answers for you, thanks for looking!

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